The first step in creating a baby via IVF is cooking up a big batch of eggs. I’m not talking Grade A Extra Large. A whole bunch of eggs from the ovary are needed. Funny thing is that only one, maybe two eggs are popped out a month. That is just not going to cut it. We needed to trick my body into thinking it needed to produce an ungodly amount of eggs. This is where the first round of fertility drugs comes in. I’m not going to tell you how much these drugs cost (1. I can’t remember and 2. proper ladies don’t talk about money in public…we only whisper about it over chicken salad at bridge). Rest assured it’s a hefty sum. The pharmaceutical company that sent us the drugs was very adamant about the temperature they need to be stored in and would anyone be home to accept the package because they have to go directly into the refrigerator. That was the beginning of my reproductive drug paranoia. I rearranged my schedule and stayed home all day to ensure I would not miss the FedEx guy.
Before we get too far into drugs and needles and injecting oneself there were a couple of office visits to make sure I was healthy. Were my ovaries willing to produce eggs in the double digits? Was my uterus a warm and snuggly place? Somewhere a fertilized egg would want to latch on and call home for nine months? Yes and yes. Dear Husband had his own set of office visits. Eggs are just fine on their own but they’re not going to do you one lick of good if they don’t have a special ingredient…Garam Masala. Kidding of course, but I won’t give any details on the magic fertilizer as that’s not my side of the story and I’m not sure Dear Husband would want me too. Let’s just say his credit was good.
Back to me. At one of my healthy female parts visit Dear Husband and I had a lesson in needles and a how-to on injecting me with drugs. Our nurse was the sweetest woman but she put the fear of god into me lest I make a mistake I could screw this whole thing up. We were coached on where to give the shot, the lower abdomen for the first round, making sure we did it in the exact spot every time and at the same time of day every day. And don’t accidentally contaminate the needle by not recapping it correctly or forgetting to swab the injection site with alcohol before the shot or not washing your hands before touching anything or looking cross-eyed at the moon on Thursdays. On top of all that we had to make absolutely sure that we drew out the exact dosage into the needle. Injecting the exact amount was imperative to successful ovary trickery. Oh, and get out as many bubbles from the syringe as we can before injecting as too many bubbles can effect the dosage amount. One last thing. If you mess up any of the above mentioned steps prior to injection then we have to toss that needle and start over with a fresh clean one. And if we toss a dosage in the trash then we mind as well be lighting a match to a big, fat wad of cash because these drugs are so dern expensive. Okay, no pressure.
I started with one shot a day in my abdomen for four weeks. The purpose of these drugs is to raise my hormone levels and trick my ovaries into thinking that they need to produce a couple of dozen eggs (as opposed to just the one) at my next cycle. About two weeks into this month I added two additional injections to my nightly routine. My side effects weren’t too terrible. Mostly night sweats and a bloated looking tummy. My ovaries were growing to the size of grapefruits (no joke) so I was asked twice if I was pregnant by unsuspecting acquaintances who were non the wiser to our IVF journey. If I was irritable and bitchy because of the increased hormones I don’t remember it and Dear Husband did the right thing by denying any such behavior on my part. For those who are scared of needles and the idea of giving yourself a shot in the stomach gives you the heebie-geebies I can tell you in all honesty that it’s really not that bad. The needle for this particular shot is about as big as two strands of hair.
Egg retrieval day was getting closer and closer. We’ll save that for next time.